Ald. Ed Burke, who has ruled the 14th Ward for 50 years, faces an extortion charge, for allegedly trying to shake down a restaurant chain owner to force that owner to hire Burke’s law firm on property tax matters.
Here is the full criminal complaint, which was revealed on Thursday, Jan. 4, 2019.
TIMELINE OF EVENTS
Here is the sequence of events, according to federal prosecutors, who were probing Burke’s dealings with a restaurant owner.
Investigators say that was done as a way to leverage the restaurant’s owner into hiring Burke’s law firm to help with unrelated property tax matters, for the all of the owner’s fast food establishments.
Burke has been the target of investigations in the past, but he had never been charged until now.
The powerful Chicago pol told reporters that he is innocent. ‘I have done nothing wrong.’
Chicago is no stranger to corruption. More than 30 Chicago City Council members have been tied to corruption cases since the 1970s.
As a result of the charges against him, Burke resigned at chairman of the powerful Finance Committee. Here is his letter of resignation.
BURKE OUT AS FINANCE CHAIR: Facing a corruption charge in federal court, Ald. Edward Burke (14th) is resigning as chairman of the City Council Finance Committee, according to the mayor's office. https://t.co/ZJrBkyfeFL
— CBS Chicago (@cbschicago) January 4, 2019
Burke made an initial court appearance on Thursday. His next court date is Jan. 18.
The day after that court appearance, Burke posted a video, telling his supporters that he intends to run for re-election in February.
Burke’s interests as the head of the finance committee, responsible for budgets and revenue and getting as much tax money for the city as possible, all the while trying to get his big business clients to pay as little as possible in property taxes seem to conflict. He held those two seemingly irreconcilable roles for 35 years.